Thursday, August 30, 2012

remind me your name. . .

We hadn't visited the church in Cuautempan in 20 year. I  peeked in the window of the church building on Thursday, market day- just a peek into an empty building.
We returned to Cuautempan on Sunday. I wondered if the real church would be there in the building? Would there be preaching from the Bible and true worship? Would people remember us, would my Spanish work, would I feel awkward?
And from the start Adolfo and Angela greeted us, then Juan and Maria with 3 daughters, grown up . . .an entire generation grows up in 20 years.
"Brother, I know your face, remind me your name!" I asked a tall young man..
"Don't you remember my name?  just like my father's," he smiled .
"Ahh, Adolfito, of course." I said.
Men and women  sit on short benches on separate sides of the church-still; Naomi, Selma and I slid onto the bench with Felicites and she shared her hymnal and huge Bible.
The teaching was true to God's Word, the worship sweet and earnest. . .I didn't remember such lovely singing.
Felicites requested the hymn  Bienvendos (Welcome)She held my hand and cried.  Then I cried.
Afterwards there were lots more greetings and embraces and invitations for meals. And there were stories.
I know your face, remind me your name. . .

Monday, August 27, 2012

living the truth

Felicites' kitchen isn't much different than I remember. . .still she cooks over an open fire, still she rolls out the masa, still she skillfully pats out tortillas; but now there's a  separate room connected to the kitchen for sitting and eating and talking-and without smoke!
I love how the Psalms so personally tell the human story. The other day  I read Psalm 55 and I thought about Felicites.
"Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."
For 10 years our lives intersected; I knew that my friend's life was wrought with trials but I didn't comprehend then the extent or complexity of her hardships. . .(but can we ever?)
 Our individual burden in this life is what God has given us-Cast your burden upon the Lord, He will sustain you.
So, I sat on the bench beside Felicites in the Cuautempan church a few weeks ago, her large print Bible opened, covering both our small laps. Felicites knows the God who speaks Psalms 55: 22 into her life and she lives likes it's true.

Friday, August 24, 2012

visiting old friends. . .

 When we moved to the house in Cuautempan 33 years ago, Felicities was my closest neighbor; after the corn harvest in the fall, I could see the smoke floating up from the cooking fire in her kitchen.
An ancient loom filled the main room of her house-and that's where Felicities did her work, weaving wool blankets and jackets with distinct patterns, earning enough to feed her children.
From the first day we met, I knew that Felicities loved Jesus and his church.
Some mornings when I home schooled Rachel and Luke, my younger 2 would trot down the hill to straddle the beams of the loom while Felicities did her work.
So-on this trip, after 20 years, I wondered if my dear friend would be there, still?
 She was there-and a faithful Christ follower, still.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

visiting old places. . .

 So-we roamed the Cuautempan market and then ventured up the hill to visit our old house.  We moved to Cuautempan and to this house when Naomi was 9 months old; I brought both Noah and Abigail home to this place as newborn babes.
John built the slatted gate in front of the door, a gate to keep Naomi from escaping into the corn fields and beyond..
The house is rundown, broken down, overgrown, locked up-but still a beautiful place set into the side of  a mountain-and there are lots of memories to tell.
You know how that is. . .

Monday, August 20, 2012

Thursday is still market day. . .

So. . .What should I expect?  I wondered, as we set off from Mexico City to the mountains of Puebla.  Naomi and Joshua had planned a 5 day trip to visit places and people we hadn't seen in 20 years.
Expect change. . .I told myself.
"Do you remember what day of the week is Market Day in Cuautempan?" John asked.
"Thursday. . .it was always Thursday." I answered.
So, on Thursday we drove from Tetela to Cuautempan-the windy mountain road etched in my brain is paved now. . .no more mud, nor huge pot holes, nor threatening rock slides; there's a rail hedging in the cliffs.
expect amazing change.
Thursday is still market day in beautiful Cuautempan.  We entered the colorful throng and a voice called out - an old friend, a brother in Christ.
It was Fernando - he remembered us.

Friday, August 17, 2012

city excursion

The Smith's new apartment has big windows with a city view, huge windows-
The guest room is lovely, the bed, sheets and pillows perfect--you should visit some time. (the children are surprisingly quiet at dawn.)
It's an apartment in progress. . . we experienced the renovation, the good and the bad; now I think their apartment is a wee bit mine too.
One afternoon Naomi and I  made our way downtown to the fabric district, boarding the section of the metro reserved for women and children.  We squeezed our way off and stepped into a mass of humanity and for a minute I lost Naomi in the mass; she stopped to check the metro map but I didn't hear her call. . . me, alone in the mass-but only for a minute.
in and out of shops, we measured, touched, discussed fabric and window covering and finally purchased a lovely grey piece for this window-and then we returned home on the metro.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

in Mexico with the church

On our first Sunday in Mexico Joshua and Naomi took us to worship with a church that meets in a theater in the center of a park. 
So, leaving their apartment, we walked 20 minutes in the neighborhood to  the metro station, boarded and rode the metro for 20 minutes, and took a 10 minute taxi ride to the meeting.
At the entrance to the park we bought tamales from a man with a little cart, tying up the plastic bag to keep in the steam. . . first the church meeting, later tamales, I thought.
Then we were with the saints- and I knew that to be part of the Savior's church is the sweetest gift-no matter the physical location.
And after the formal meeting we stood around outside and talked with the church--just like at home in Texas.
I met a dear woman; her son is the pastor of the church. She told me how she came to know Jesus and I told her that it must be the richest blessing to listen to her son preach from God's Word each week.
From her orange bag, my friend pulled out little cups of gelatin and plastic spoons. Naomi bought one for Selma, who gobbled it up, sharing bites with her brothers-nuts on the bottom, gelatin in the middle, crushed chocolate cookies on top.  Finally we opened up the plastic bag full of tamales-no longer steamy, but warm-and good.
Then -taxi, metro, walk. . .we traveled home through the city.

Monday, August 13, 2012

city rhythm

 For almost a decade our family lived in rural Mexico; we rarely ventured into the big city . . .village life was our rhythm-sleeping in silence, waking to roosters, walking n dirt, seeds, harvest, fresh tortillas, milk from the cow, sheep- it's the Mexico we know.

But the Smiths live in the city, and not just any city-along with 30 million people, they live and raise their kids in the heart of Mexico City.
This month I got a good taste of city rhythm.- it happens in the streets..
The city moves like random machinery; the traffic seems paralyzing . . .then  I see my  grandchildren grab a hand, step off the curb and move to the rhythm of the city.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mexico. . .

So, John and I spent 2 weeks in Mexico-and yesterday we came home.
We visited Joshua and Naomi and our grandchildren in Mexico City, experienced their very present life in a mega city. And we spent 5 days in provincial villages, visiting places and people from our past-people we hadn't seen in 20 years. . .they didn't know we were coming.
 I'm at home, thinking and sorting the experiences, the unexpecteds, the emotions. . .quite amazing, really.
More later. . .